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Duane Waterman



Classical Guitars

To me, classical guitars are the Formula 1 of guitar types.  The preferred compositions - historic and current, the technical discipline needed for acceptable performance, and the concert instruments themselves are highly refined.  There are guitar makers that focus tightly on re-creating exact models of instruments from earlier periods - similar to the work of violin makers - but many others today are working to evolve the instrument with new materials, forms of construction and more modern features - like elevated fingerboards and side sound ports.  The concert guitar is certainly not a "finished" item.

Like many of my contemporaries in the 20th century I began by making instruments that adhered closely to Torres - and Hauser l - with spruce tops and 7 symmetrical fan braces.  After finishing about 50 of these instruments over 6 years I started making slightly larger, cedar models influenced by the Jose Ramirez and Miguel Rodriguez concert models.  These were more successful guitars for me - appealing to a broader range of players.  In the last 20 years or so the revolutionary work of Greg Smallman (lattice style construction), Mattias Dammann (Double tops), and Schneider/Kasha (Radial bracing and a modern aesthetic) has influenced my building to varying degrees,  as it has with many other makers around the world.


Currently I make two general models:  One, I call the Concert Classical.  These are distinguishable by a center sound hole, like all traditional guitars.  These are designed in a variety of cosmetic motifs - from mosaic rosettes with simple, yet elegant black/white trims to more elaborate, modern rosettes with distinctive colors that also match the body edge trims.  Several are illustrated here on this page with photos and video/soundclips.   


The other current model is the Classical Modern - easily recognized by a sound hole off-center and high in the upper bout.  Most of the materials, general construction features, bracing concept, and available options are present in both of these models.  The one exception is that the Classical Modern models all have an access door to the body interior, either in the tail or in the down side of the instrument.  This access door is needed for neck attachment during construction, as well as to facilitate any future repairs or modifications to the interior.  See the photos and videos of a spruce model with exhibition grade Brazilian rosewood.
Scale lengths of 650 mm and 640 mm are most commonly used - occasionally a shorter scale length and slightly smaller body is made custom for a particular client.  Nut width of 52 mm is most common.  Brazilian rosewood is my favored body wood, but first quality Honduras or Madagascar rosewood is equally acceptable.   Elevated fingerboards and/or side sound ports are available on Concert Classical models - these are standard on the Classical Modern models.  These guitars come with deluxe Rubner tuning machines, or with optional Nicolo'Alessihand made tuners, and are delivered in a fitted fiberglass flight case. 
Concert Classical model - price range $5500 to $7500, price varies with the addition of optional exhibition grade Brazilian rosewood, or custom tuners, or special flight case.
Classical Modern model - price range $6000 to $8500, price varies with  the addition of optional exhibition grade Brazilian rosewood, or custom tuners, or special flight case.